Board Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Nonfiction, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/28/22

Bella and I are excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading.  Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling Illustrated by Dung Ho

Ren is excited to celebrate Lunar New Year with her family, but when she asks to help with the festivities, she gets the same response “You’re still too little.” When her older brother Charlie arrives home, everything changes for he has the patience to teach Ren to make pineapple cakes.. Soon her aunts see Ren in a different light offering advice and when the pineapples cakes are ready for the oven, her mother acknowledges her ability. 

This year, I adopted a kindergarten class for #classroombookaday and A Sweet New Year for Ren is a perfect read aloud to teach them about Lunar New Year especially since this is the first year our district recognizes it as a holiday for students.  What I love most about this story is it highlights how Lunar New Year focuses on family and while the food fills the stomach, their togetherness fills the heart. Thanks to Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for sharing a copy. A Sweet New Year for Ren recently released on November 15, 2022.


The Best Gift for Bear by Jennifer A. Bell 

Hedgehog bakes gingerbread cookies for all her friends, but she needs a grand present for her dear friend Bear.  When her snow covered roof gives her inspiration, Hedgehog is giddy with excitement.  Bear’s immense friendship is worthy of the multi-day task and when it is finished, Hedgehog is proud.  Bear’s house is far so Hedgehog begins her journey early in the morning.  All is fine until the winter wind whips around her and within seconds, her gift is destroyed a few feet away from Bear’s home.  After Bear rescues Hedgehog from the snow, a distraught Hedgehog shares her story and Bear confesses baking is not easy..  Hedgehog suggests baking together.

Bell’s sweet story warmed my heart.  First, who can resist an adorably drawn hedgehog with earmuffs? I love how both Hedgehog and Bear wanted to make a special gift for each other and realized the best gift is truly spending time together.  Included in the front endpapers is a recipe for Hedgehog’s Gingerbread Cookies and Grandma’s Honey Icing.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for sharing a copy.  The Best Gift for Bear published on September 27, 2022.


Bright Winter Night by Alli Braydon Illustrated by Ashling Lindsay 

Forest animals band together to create a sleigh that will take them to see the northern lights.  Once Mouse knots the reins, the wolf pack is ready to take the animals to their destination. The snowy terrain causes a slight mishap but once they see a flash of light in the distance, the animals work together to get back on track. .Astute readers will notice how the color palette changes once the northern lights are within their grasp and once they see them, the page spread is glorious with the animals mesmerized by the sky. 

Brydon’s rhyming text and Lindsay’s brilliant artwork perfectly complement each other.  I love how the animals collaborated on their mode of transportation and problem solved when the sleigh was stifled.  The result was the glorious beauty of the northern lights which Lindsay majestically captured.  Bright Winter Night makes me want to book a trip to Norway or Iceland to see the nature’s sheer beauty with my own eyes. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for sharing a copy. Bright Winter Night publishes soon on December 1, 2022.


Fuzzy Furry Ouch by Cree Lane & Amanda Jane Jones

On the cover, Fuzzy Furry Ouch labels itself as a Do Not Touch Book but don’t despair.  This touch and feel book is completely safe teaching littles what they can and cannot touch.  Author Lane has fun for while a cactus and stove are items a child may encounter, she also humorously includes a dinosaur and a rocket ship.   I love how she exposes children to robust vocabulary such as slick, squishy, and rough to describe the texture of  items. Jones’ eye-catching’ illustrations are visually appealing centered on each page and invite a child to explore. Thanks to Little Simon/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for sharing a copy. A companion to Lane’s and Jones’ 2019 collaboration, Yum Yummy Yuck, Fuzzy Furry Ouch celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on  November 29, 2022.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine character.


What’s Up Pup?  How Our Furry Friends Communicate and What They Are Saying by Kersten Hamilton Illustrated by Lili Chin

When Bella is not feeling 100%, it would be helpful if she could tell me in words what was wrong.  But after reading What’s Up Pup, I realize that she is communicating with me through her body language all the time and it is my job to see her “talk” with my eyes. 

With its rhyming text, Hamilton’s nonfiction picture book is as playful as the dogs she describes.  She shares how dogs use their eyes, ears, rears, noses, tails, and legs to send signals to humans and other canines about how they are feeling. Hamilton clarifies that a dog’s body language can mean different things depending on whether they are they are in company of humans or another dog.  Chin’s vivid artwork is full of energy conveying the doggy dialogue. I appreciate how Chin has a variety of dog breeds in her illustrations including a basset hound.  Immediately following the text, backmatter includes an author’s note, definitions of the dog language in the book, additional fascinating facts, and a bibliography. I especially loved learning how dogs can not only smell time but also their human’s emotions.  Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)/Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing an electronic copy.  What’s Up Pup? recently released on November 16, 2022.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.

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